I was in the middle of writing a rant about motivation, or lack thereof, when a good friend, who also happens to be a brilliant scientist, wrote to ask how my retina repair was healing.
The repair was done on November 25th for: ten tears and a retinal detachment, macula on. The latter means that central vision is preserved and that emergency surgery should be performed within 24 hours.
Here is a picture of my eye pre-op. I knew something was up when the retina specialist’s assistant lined the cursor up with that light leak in the top left aspect of the image.
Still hopeful, I asked the doctor if this was another floater.
«No, Mrs. Cheema, this is not a floater. »
I will spare you the post-op picture. I looked like I’d gone a few rounds with Muhammad Ali.
My surgeon was aptly named: Dr. Sun. So full of hope considering the black hole in my visual field.
When I first met him, he reassured me that my retina did not tear because I read a lot. Phew!
Honestly, he looked like a teenager dressed up as a surgeon when he came to get me in the PACU (post anaesthesia care unit) that night. His resident looked like he was twelve. They were all business when it came to the surgery though and definitely in charge. Hand me this and hand me that to an OR room full of people assisting, that sort of thing. It was very reassuring.
After the tears were zapped (zipped?) with laser, they put a gas bubble in my eye to anchor the retina in place as it heals. All I know is it takes about two months to be absorbed. A google search tells me it is likely this gas: perfluoropropane (C3F8).
Here is this evening’s exchange between my friend and I:
J: « How are you healing? »
Me: « The gas bubble is shrinking. It’s like an annoying bouncy contact lens in my eyes. Wiggles and jiggles whenever I move. »
J: « Your description of what’s happening in your eyeball is a bit…disconcerting? How’s the vision: jiggly?? »
Me: « Initially the gas bubble was like a water tank with the water line clearly demarcated at the top. Now the bubble is shrinking from all directions. When I bend forward, I can see through it in its entirety, like a round shrinky dink or contact lens with a dark rim. Wiggles like jello in a bowl. »
J: « Ooo, that sounds (uncomfortable and annoying yet) very encouraging!! »
Me: « Exactly. »
Unfortunately, the gas bubble isn’t the only thing jiggling when I go up and down the stairs post holidays. 🙄